United Way of SEMO Through the Years
The United Way of Southeast Missouri evolved as a result of people wanting to find a more effective and community-wide approach to care for one another. People in Southeast Missouri are known for their caring spirit, a value as important today as it was in 1953 when community leaders first worked together to raise community funds.
United Way of Southeast Missouri continues to evolve, while supporting the three key areas that have the greatest impact on success in life: Education, Income and Health. As we continue to raise funds to change lives, the organization and volunteers who lead United Way work hard to communicate the need in our community to those who can help meet it.
Since 1953, United Way of Southeast Missouri has collected funds from concerned individuals who want to make a difference. In the first years, we raised $290,065.00. Now, in the last year alone, we have raised more than $525,183.50.
Elizabeth Shelton, a Cape Girardeau native with international corporate communications experience, becomes Director of UWSEMO.
United Way of America announces 10-year specific goals involving the focus areas Education, Income & Health. Locally, UWSEMO developed relevant goals based on local statistics, allocating funds based on achievement and using online databases to measure results.
UWSEMO began evaluating and funding individual programs instead of the agency as a whole. Specific, measurable goals and reporting requirements were set for funded partners.
The name United Way of Southeast Missouri was adopted to better reflect our geographical footprint.
Nancy Jernigan became Executive Director of United Way and began a 19-year career that launched Read to Succeed, the Community Impact model, Graces (now Women United), and many more initiatives that continue to help our community.
The United Way of Cape Girardeau merged with the Jackson Community Chest and changed its name to Area Wide United Way
Harry Rediger and Donald Strohmeyer were named new officers in the 1981 Campaign.
Dorothy Klein succeeded J. Hugh Logan and became the Director.
J. Hugh Logan was hired as Campaign Director.
United Way fund campaign goal was topped for the fourth time in 15-year history.
The United Fund was renamed The United Way of Cape Girardeau.
Maurice Dunklin was named Chairman of the United Fund Campaign.
President Rehg acted on this suggestion. The survey results' recommendation was that the community was ready, and the Chamber of Commerce, Retail Merchants Association, and the Junior Chamber of Commerce established a Board of Directors. The first Campaign was held in 1954 with Clyde Harris as Campaign Chairman. The goal was set at $49,500.
The President of the Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce, Arnold Roth, recommended to the incoming president of the Chamber, Leonard Rehg, that a survey be conducted to see if it was feasible to establish a United Fund in Cape Girardeau.